“Elder F. Arthur Kay Of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 102–3
At critical times in my life, a door has always opened,” says Elder F. Arthur Kay, a soft-spoken man whose kindly face reflects his compassionate heart and abiding faith.
One of these critical times came early, when eighteen-year-old Arthur (born 15 July 1916) faced the decision of going to college or staying home to support a family in great need. When Arthur was just eleven, both his father (Samuel Arthur Kay) and oldest sister had died, and his mother (Medora Hooper Kay) had suffered a paralyzing stroke. The family farm near Annabella, Utah, was lost as a result of the Great Depression, and Arthur felt a keen responsibility for his mother and four younger sisters. Already, he had taken two years out of high school to earn money for his family by working for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
How could he possibly leave his family to seek an education? Arthur’s mother was an educated woman who encouraged him in that direction. So, with sixty dollars in his pocket, he left for Utah State University. And, indeed, Arthur was able to graduate. During his junior year, Arthur married his high school sweetheart, Eunice D. Nielsen. The first of their six daughters was born two days after Arthur’s graduation.
After teaching school for a year in Elsinore, Utah (“I taught almost everything—except music and dance, for obvious reasons”), Brother Kay took his young family to Salt Lake City, where he worked as a shift supervisor for the Dupont Company. A transfer took the Kays to Hanford, Washington, in 1944.
Then, as the war began to phase out, Arthur began to look for business opportunities with another company. “We had prayed for a long time,” recalls Elder Kay, “and it was through the power of prayer that I came to the conclusion that I should go to dental school at the University of Oregon.”
After graduating from dental school with honors, another door was opened. Arthur had no money to open his own practice, but a dentist from Renton, Washington, offered to let him take over his practice with no money down. Brother and Sister Kay drove to Renton, determined to stay if the Church was there. After some inquiry, they were directed to the site of a chapel under construction, where members were pouring concrete in the halls and classrooms. Feeling at home, the Kays decided to cast their lot with these good people.
Ever since, Arthur Kay has been an important part of the work of the Lord in the Northwest. He served as a bishop’s counselor, and later as bishop. Then, after a two-year stint in the army in Heidelberg, Germany, he returned to Renton to become a stake high councilor and later a counselor to the stake president. In 1960 he became president of the Seattle Stake, where he served for ten years, until he became a Regional Representative.
Elder Kay has also seen many doors opened in the building of the Seattle Temple. For years, he had watched for promising temple sites in the area, and he was able to be instrumental in acquiring the site in Bellevue where the temple now stands. “The Lord’s hand is in temple work,” testifies Elder Kay. As first president and matron of the Seattle Temple, Brother and Sister Kay enjoyed many marvelous experiences.
The Kays had been released from the temple presidency just three weeks when the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy came.
Elder Kay describes the days since his calling as a time of introspection, a time of wondering what capabilities he might have. Still, the decision to accept was no decision at all. “Whenever I extend my all, help comes from on high. Knowing this has happened in the past and would happen in the future, I dared accept.”
With faith that the Lord will always open a door, Elder F. Arthur Kay stands ready to accept whatever challenges lie ahead.